Little India riot: No way to verify online information

Little India riot: No way to verify online information
The overturned police cars at the aftermath of the Little India riot on 9 December 2013.

SINGAPORE- It is puzzling that during the riot in Little India on Sunday, there were no timely government announcements through the mass media to provide the public with accurate information on what was going on.

Many people did not know how to respond to such an emergency, and there was no way for them to verify the information that was circulating online. There was also no warning against the spreading of negative comments, including jokes about foreign workers, race or religion.

Meanwhile, lies, half-truths and misinformation were circulating on cyberspace. They did not help the situation and had the potential to worsen matters.

We should learn lessons from this incident, so we can better manage potential challenges in the future.

We also need to review how to maintain law and order in Little India. There should be regular checks on the excessive consumption of alcohol, which could have been one of the reasons for the destructive behaviour.

Everyone should be encouraged to remain calm. Emotions have a way of clouding rational thought and we should not allow such incidents to affect us negatively.

May this unfortunate incident remind us to be united, vigilant and proactive in resolving potential challenges.

Patrick Liew Siow Gian

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